Hello, greetings, and welcome back to Last Week In Venture, a weekly highlight reel of deals which may have flown under your radar.
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It was YC Demo Day week, which means all eyes were on a growing set of very early-stage ventures. Apart from that, JUUL Labs raised capital to expand globally, Root Insurance raised big money to scale up, and Datadog filed to go public. Oh, and Crunchbase News welcomed Sophia Kunthara aboard!
That’s just a small fraction of our coverage, which, in turn, is itself just one small view into all that’s happening at the intersection of money and technology. There are plenty of companies outside the unicorn and public market spotlight, and it’s our goal here to highlight a few of the ones that caught our eye this week.
So, without further ado, let’s check out some other rounds from the week that was in venture-land.
A lot of us lead pretty hectic lives. There’s work, school, and taking care of loved ones. It can be a lot to handle, which is why it’s good to unwind now and again. If you live in a major city, chances are you’re reasonably close to a fancy pants hotel. Say you wanted to luxuriate by its pool or use its fitness center but didn’t want to spring for a night’s stay.
ResortPass is a Santa Monica-based startup aiming to make hotel amenities available to locals through its online booking portal. With ResortPass, customers can get day passes to hotel pools and spas, and book cabanas by the beach. This week, the company raised $8.7 million in its Series A round. Since the round was disclosed in a regulatory filing, reported on by LA Business Journal, investors were not disclosed. The company previously raised capital from CRV, Tamarisc Ventures, Wayfare Ventures, and Mucker Capital, among others.
Fall is coming, and folks by the thousands will flock to parks to toss around the ol’ pigskin. Believe the hype about us Millennials and you’ll think we’d rather simply have access to a thing, and to be able to use it on-demand, rather than own the thing itself. Like, why own a football if you’re only going to play catch a couple times a year? Why own one of those goofy-looking collapsable chairs with the mesh cup holders if you’re only going to watch one of your little cousins’ soccer games? Why own a drill when all you need to do is screw a television mount to your wall? You can think of Ballbox as a hosting platform for stuff as-a-service.
A Chicago-based company founded in 2017, it makes a freestanding, solar-powered vending machine which facilitates leisure and sports equipment rentals, ranging from beach buckets to basketballs. The potential scope of what can be rented is broad. “If you want to use a VR set at your apartment for a night with friends and then a football at the beach tomorrow, Ballbox has you covered,” the company says on its website. Ballbox says it gives 15 percent of its profits back to municipal parks and recreation departments. The startup raised $50,000 as part of the summer cohort of Lair East Labs.
Physical goods businesses are easy enough to grok. You design a thing; you make the thing; you put the thing in a box and ship it to your customers. Wash, rinse, repeat.
But what about goods of a decidedly more intangible nature, like intellectual property? Brainbase is a Los Angeles-based venture building a software platform which helps owners of intellectual property license their creations.
It’s a literal marketplace for ideas, where vendors can browse and pitch deals to IP holders. Beyond just the marketplace, Brainbase features contract management and accounting tools to its users as well. This week, the company announced it raised $3 million in a seed round led by Struck Capital. Tectonic Capital, Sterling Road, Bonfire Ventures, and Watertower Ventures are among the many participating investors in the deal.
And with that we’re done for the week! See you back here soon!
Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Photo by Etienne Girardet, via Unsplash.